Venus Williams flaunts new gear in Philly

Posted: July 17, 2014

COME for the tennis, stay for the fashion show.

Venus Williams will present her new line of workout gear, called Strisce, under her EleVen brand during the halftime of the Washington Kastles game against Billie Jean King's Philadelphia Freedoms tomorrow at Villanova University Pavilion (800 Lancaster Ave., Villanova), where Venus played her first Philly match back in 1997.

She says that her line is about being able to express herself on the court. Strisce features yellow stripes, a favorite of Williams' although it's the first time that EleVen has delved into the pattern. For Williams, that ability to experiment differentiates her clothes from other tennis gear: Her clothes aren't boring and white.

"It's directly inspired by my heart and my mind," Williams said.

She added: "I think it's changed how people have dressed for tennis, so we've got that going for us."

Williams told me that she's very hands-on with her line. In fact, her plan next week is to start working on 2015 looks.

Williams earned an associate's degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, graduating with cum laude honors and a 3.5 GPA. Now she's finishing up her MBA, which has taken a toll on one of Williams' favorite off-the-court activities: getting her nails done.

"I don't do anything fun anymore!" Williams lamented when I asked about her famous digits. "I used to have tips, really cool nails, until school started. Now I have to type papers, so I got rid of the tips. It's the Cinderella look."

Williams is happy to be wrapping up her studies soon, and not just for her fingers' sake. "I love the information but I don't like busywork," Williams said about her schooling. "Give me an exam but don't make me write a paper."

See for more info on the game and fashion show.

Sayles away

Academy Award-nominated director John Sayles (he proved that Matthew McConaughey was a talent to watch in "Lone Star" way before last year's McConaissance) will be the special guest at the inaugural Reel East Film Festival, a South Jersey celebration of film on Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. He'll screen his new film, "Go for Sisters," starring Edward James Olmos, Isaiah Washington and LisaGay Hamilton. The fest takes place Aug. 22 and 23 at the Ritz Theatre (915 White Horse Pike, Haddon Township) The festival will feature screenings of movies new and old. For more info, check out

Shoe-by dooby doo

Rid yourself of unwanted shoes and Cole Hamels will give you a present. Go to the Hamels Foundation's retail store (880 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with gently worn shoes (no heavy winter boots, skates, blades, flip-flops, slippers or singles).

Recyclers will receive a $20 coupon from Sports Authority and be entered into a raffle to win such prizes as an autographed Hamels baseball. Monetary donations also will be accepted. Free food and beverages during the event come courtesy of Jimmy John's, Cakes & Candies by Maryellen, and New Hope Premium Fountain.

Wafflin' with Big Rube

People Paper street-fashion fella Big Rube Harley will host his own pop-up kitchen on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Social Space (717 Church Lane, Yeadon, Delaware County). The Chicken & Waffle Soul Brunch also will feature tunes by DJ Soul. For reservations, hit up the big guy at


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